Today I am sharing the story of Neil A. Moon. Neil contacted me on Twitter and asked me if I would watch and help promote his video called “Work Under Pressure” which highlights the effects of bullying and stress. This campaign is extremely important because bullying and stress can lead to depression, mental illness and in worst cases, suicide. After watching the video, I felt compelled to shared Neil’s story here because I can relate to it on many levels as will many of you.
Bullying happens to people everywhere everyday and it is growing epedemic. Many of us have dealt with some kind of bullying and negative treatment by other people at some point in our lives. Neil Moon’s experiences happened in the workplace. In the video Neil describes how bullying tactics were used as a form of management at the large corporation where he worked. He saw a lot of good people leave the company as a result. Many of the people who stayed were left demoralized. Neil personally became so depressed that he tried to take his own life. By the grace of God he was unsuccessful and at that point he decided that he could not sit back with a clear conscience and let this happen to anyone else. It was about six months after the day that Neil decided to stand up for this cause until his video was released and since then Neil has been campaigning up to 14 hours everyday raising awareness. The video was launched for European Safety Week as the theme this year is stress in the workplace. Through his campaigning he has gained the courage to speak in front of people and has taken formal training in public speaking. Neil is unique because although his knowledge is based on conventional academic principles, he also has the added insight of being a sufferer of stress, bullying and mental health on a personal basis. He can now combine the actual theory of these topics with the first hand experience and look at it from a different perspective. He feels he has a much deeper understanding and empathy with other peoples dilemmas as a result. It has also given him the motivation and drive to raise awareness. He knows that with out a shadow of the doubt that the topics he is raising awareness about can actually be fatal to the sufferer. He is thankful to have second chance even if it came at a great personal cost (which will be explained in the video).
Neil is 45 years old and lives in Nottinghamshire, England. He was born in Oxford but grew up in the United States. His mother was English and his stepfather was American. He was a military brat and lived in California, New York, Texas and Germany during his school years and he was later a medic in the US Army. Neil comes from a family with mental health related illness. His biological father, brother and cousin all committed suicide. Since making the attempt on his own life, he knows how it can affect the survivors lives. His life was changed greatly by his fathers actions and he knows that getting to that state of distress when you reach a point in your life that you see no way out, it can be much harder to find a reason to live than to die. He fully understands now the motivation of his own fathers actions, as well as that of the late great Robin Williams. “It really saddens me that someone who made me laugh as much as Robin Williams was so low inside that he took his own life. That sadness comes from fully understanding the loneliness he was in…It is a desperate place to be.” Neil hopes that by raising awareness he can help people from getting to that crisis point. He is by no means doing this to feed his ego or create a platform to be the center of attention. He feels that some people take on campaigns for an egotistical need to be noticed rather than altruistic need to make a difference in other peoples lives. He believes his campaign to raise awareness about bullying in the workplace will help spread compassion and kindness. He wants to help end the stigma of mental health since 1 in 4 people will suffer from it at some point in their lifetime. He truly wants to “help people and erase suffering.” He hopes that employers, charities, etc. will embrace his message and invite him to come to their companies and organizations to talk to groups about his experiences and raise awareness.
This topic hits home with me because I personally dealt with bullying by peers at different points in my adolescence including elementary, junior high and high school. This made a huge negative impact on my mental state during those very important years of growth. I was the quiet, awkward, unpopular girl and other girls did not like me very much. I did not understand at the time why it was happening but it led me down a dark path. My grades suffered, I lost total interest in school and I chose negative relationships with friends and boyfriends. I even ended up not attending classes my senior year due to my depressed mental state. I missed homecoming, prom, graduation, as well as critical hands on learning time in classroom like “normal” students because I was scared to be at school. I did complete the necessary hours to obtain my diploma through correspondence courses and I went on to graduate with a Bachelors degree from the University of Kentucky. My experience is different than Neil’s but I can truly relate to the feelings he had.
I fully support Neil’s cause and I hope you will too. Please watch this important video and and share it. You can contact Neil for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow his Facebook page work.underpressure.nm. Anti-Bullying week in the UK is the week of November 17th. Lets help raise awareness in the UK, in the USA and around the world.